US Citizens Involved In Deadly Attempted Coup In DR Congo

American citizens were involved in an attempted coup d’état that left at least three people dead on Sunday in the Democratic Republic of Congo a military spokesperson told CNN Monday.

The attempted coup which targeted the residence of Congolese politician Vital Kamerhe and the country’s presidential palace was led by opposition leader Christian Malanga, who was killed in a gun battle between the armed putschists and the presidential guards according to army spokesman General Sylvain Ekenge.

Ekenge also claimed Malanga was a U.S. citizen, though the State Department said later it had no records of him. “I confirm the death of Christian Malanga, neutralized during the exchange of fire at the Palais de la Nation,” Ekenge told CNN, adding that Malanga’s son Marcel “was among those arrested.”

Ekenge named three other Americans, identified as Benjamin Reuben Zalman-Polun, Patrick Ducey and Taylor Thomson, were involved in the foiled coup. “Patrick Ducey and Taylor Thomson are the same person who have two different identities. We’re going to check his passport,” he added.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said the U.S. is aware of two other individuals “reported to be” U.S. citizens who are in custody after the failed coup attempt. Miller said privacy laws prevented him from confirming whether or not the U.S. had reached out to the Congolese government to be granted consular access to the two individuals.